SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors continues to consider criteria for retail cannabis dispensary licenses in unincorporated parts of the county.
The Board voted Tuesday to approve considerations for a ‘neighborhood compatibility scorecard’ that a third-party group will use to evaluate applicants. That scorecard’s metrics–which includes community input–are only one part of the thorough evaluation process.
This comes after the Board asked for public opinion on the matter this summer. As a result, many residents in areas where retail cannabis operations are being considered have spoken out in opposition.
Top of mind are several concerns about a potential retail cannabis location: being in an inappropriate area where children are often present; leading to more crime or safety concerns; creating parking difficulties and busier traffic; or introducing pervasive cannabis odor to an area.
The County has six designated areas that can receive, at most, one licensed cannabis retail location–including Santa Ynez, Los Alamos, Orcutt, Isla Vista, the eastern Goleta Valley and the Summerland-Toro Canyon-Santa Claus Lane area.
People on Santa Claus Lane were divided in their answers when asked about the issue on Tuesday. Some–including a property owner on the street–said they would welcome a dispensary.
Several people who believe a dispensary would not be a good fit in the area called into Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting to express their disapproval.
The concerns even made Supervisor Das Williams–who has a track record of supporting the local cannabis industry–take a moment to reconsider the idea of a retail operation in some areas.
“The [evaluation] process still has room for dissent and yes-or-no question on whether a dispensary should go forward,” he said. “But I’m increasingly convinced that without public opinion changing dramatically, this is not headed in the direction of—at least me—supporting a dispensary.”